CHANGES to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 have come into effect, giving police greater powers to tackle irresponsible owners.

The legislation has been extended to include all private property meaning that for the first time dog owners will no longer be immune from prosecution if their dog attacks somebody in the home.

The maximum sentence for the owner of a dog who kills somebody has been raised from two years to 14 years and owners face up to five years imprisonment if their dog injures somebody.

The change in legislation will also provide additional protection to people who visit homes such as health visitors, postal staff and utility workers but it does not protect trespassers.